Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Hungaroring, 2023

Russell tops wet first practice as Perez crashes on first flying lap

2023 Hungarian Grand Prix first practice

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George Russell set the quickest time in a rain-hit opening practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

But Sergio Perez got his weekend off to a poor start as he crashed within minutes of the day’s action beginning. His session ended halfway around his second lap as he spun into the barriers, leaving his team with work to do to repair his car ahead of the second session.

Only 13 drivers set times by the end of the hour’s running. Russell ended up quickest from Oscar Piastri and Lance Stroll.

The first hour of practice began with the threat of rain in the overcast air as cars peeled out of the pit lane for the first time. Daniel Ricciardo, back in an official F1 session for the first time since his departure from McLaren last year, was quick to set off on a push lap as AlphaTauri looked to get him kilometres under his belt during his first time driving the AT04.

However before Ricciardo could complete his first flying lap, the session was red-flagged as Perez was in the tyre wall at turn five. The Red Bull driver had lost control of his car when he touched the grass under braking and spun into the tyre wall, causing heavy damage to the front of his updated RB19.

As the field returned to the pit lane for the red flag, the heavens opened and heavy rain fell over the circuit. Some drivers raced out onto the track in an attempt to complete a dry lap in before the track became too wet. But the final sector was quickly soaked, as demonstrated by Valtteri Bottas spinning at turn 12, with all cars returning to the safety of the garage.

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While the session remained green, only a handful of drivers dared to venture out on intermediates. All who did returned to the pit lane without completing a timed lap, leaving the leaderboard entirely empty until well under 20 minutes remaining, when Bottas set the first time of a 1’47.787.

That time was beaten by the two Williams drivers of Logan Sargeant and Alexander Albon, but then the session was suspended for a second time after Carlos Sainz Jnr lost control of his Ferrari on the exit of turn three and beaching his car on the outside kerb. After the assistance of a team of marshals, the Ferrari was freed from the kerb and Sainz returned to the pit lane, allowing the session to quickly resume.

Around half the field opted to take to the wet track in the final ten minutes, with all who did so so lapping on the intermediate tyres. The two Aston Martins went fastest, Fernando Alonso two-tenths quicker than team mate Lance Stroll, before George Russell deposed Alonso from the top of the times with around two minutes remaining.

In the final moments, Piastri broke the 1’40 barrier to move McLaren to fastest overall, but Russell snatched back the top spot after the chequered flag to end the first session of the weekend as the fastest driver. Piastri ended the session second, with Stroll third and Norris fourth in the second McLaren.

Alonso was fifth fastest ahead of Bottas, Charles Leclerc and Zhou Guanyu. Sargeant and Nico Hulkenberg rounded out the top 10 positions. Among those who did not get a time on the board were championship leader Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez after his crash.

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2023 Hungarian Grand Prix first practice result

163George RussellMercedesW141’38.79513
281Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’39.1540.35914
318Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’40.0131.21810
44Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’40.2771.48213
514Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’40.6871.8928
677Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’41.0322.23714
716Charles LeclercFerrariSF-231’41.1422.34711
824Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’41.3632.5689
92Logan SargeantWilliams-MercedesFW451’41.4162.62115
1027Nico HulkenbergHaas-FerrariVF-231’42.7063.91112
1120Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-231’42.9064.11114
1222Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’45.5756.7807
1323Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW451’47.4038.60810
143Daniel RicciardoAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT04No time7
1555Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-23No time6
1611Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB19No time2
1731Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA523No time4
1810Pierre GaslyAlpine-RenaultA523No time3
191Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB19No time4
2044Lewis HamiltonMercedesW14No time3

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2023 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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24 comments on “Russell tops wet first practice as Perez crashes on first flying lap”

  1. “It’s in my hands” said Perez less than 24 hours ago. It is indeed son…

  2. He’s just too clumsy and careless. A wet practice, worth nothing. But he manages to make things even worse somehow.

    1. It was dry when he crashed.

      1. Even worse.

        1. Ricciardo’s red bull chances just increased by 10%, then we’ll have to see his performance in alpha ofc.

  3. Perez is such a joke. Is RBR seriously going to tolerate this clown for another season?

    1. I feel bad for him. He’s clearly a good driver, based on his experience with other teams. But when you’re under pressure at Red Bull and you know they could replace you at any second, it keeps on forcing driver errors. We’ve seen it happen time and time again to the ‘non-favourite’ Red Bull driver.

      1. This is topsport. Every driver is under pressure. Even the ” favourite” Red Bull driver.

      2. These incident are of his own doing, and are completely needless given the context. How he can be considered a “good” driver is beyond me. To me he’s a mediocre driver, at best, driving far and away the best car on the grid (and doing a woeful job of it).

      3. These incident are of his own doing, and are completely needless given the context. How he can be considered a “good” driver is beyond me. To me he’s a mediocre driver, at best, driving far and away the best car on the grid (and doing a woeful job of it).

      4. The only people not under pressure are Alonso and Stroll. For different reasons. Everyone else is one too many messed up races away from being booted out or told to look for a new hobby at the end of their contract.

        Pérez is being paid millions. And he doesn’t even have to win. Just do a decent job and let the dominant car do the rest.

  4. Interesting tactic by Perez to limit Ricciardo’s dry running by causing a red flag before the rain arrives.

    1. @robben Bold strategy Robben, let’s see if it pays off for him

    2. Ahah, indeed!

  5. Not polite ,but i laughed out loud ,when i saw him the camera showing his crashed car.

  6. He’s only making it worse for himself, he might be dropped before Monza.

    1. Let’s say ricciardo isn’t ready, then I’m not sure who could replace him.

  7. Off on a fricking out-lap, lol.
    What a rookie error to put left wheels on the grass.
    An unforced error he definitely didn’t need at this time.

  8. I have this awful thought pass through my ancient brain that RBR might be messing up his set up so he looks as bad as can be in all situations, such as setting it up to induce under/over/steer or even just making both sides micro different, then his mistrust in the car reaches an all time high making him think of quitting sooner than he normally would – Plausible … No, but Possible …… maybe.

    Like I said, it’s an awful concept but I couldn’t help but think it possible.

    1. If Red Bull wanted to fire Checo they could fire Checo without having to resort to any nonsense. They’d just replace him and buy out his contract. End of.

      Checo is under zero pressure from Red Bull. He could drive at 95% of his ability in this car and that should still put him in P2 on the grid at any given sunday. Max is demonstrating every week how easy this car is to drive. The failure is not Red Bull. It’s not their set-up. It’s Perez, for whatever reason, not being able to perform because he’s in his head about something.

      The issue isn’t Red Bull, the issue is Perez. Red Bull built the fastest car on the grid by some margin, their job is more or less done.

    2. Whilst possible, but why bother? Red Bull should just be honest and buy out his contract and wave him adios. Instead they will give him the cold shoulder till he leaves so they dont have to pay out his contract.

      Horner is anything but honest and will connive and twist this for his own swarmy end game. I really dont like people like him.

    3. Too bad he put his rear tyre on the grass making himself spin no setup just a big mistake of the driver and you notice cooler contiditions Perez is bad his tyres weren’t ready.

  9. The fact that Ricciardo without doing absolutely anything this year is in the window to replace Perez, says a lot about Checo’s current form…

    1. And Red Bull’s complete lack of young talent in their junior program, something that ten years ago was the envy of the paddock.

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